Rescuing Fellow Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Five of our local practitioners were arrested between September 2015 and August 2016. We hired lawyers for them and worked with their families to rescue them. With everyone’s combined efforts, all five of the practitioners were released by February 2017.
The Impact of Actively Rescuing Practitioners
We hired lawyers as soon as we learned that they had been arrested. The lawyers not only defended them but also filed complaints against the judges and other involved, which would make them seriously consider their actions.
We decided that, instead of passively watching this happen, we should actively work to protect our freedom of belief and counteract this persecution. Allowing the perpetrators to persecute practitioners without consequence also harmed the perpetrators.
Bottom-line, we wanted to save people. When we rescued practitioners, we reduced the damage caused by their arrests, clarified the facts to their family, rectified our local environment, and stopped government officials from participating in the persecution.
Timing is Critical
Timing is very critical in the rescue. Our attorneys explained that there are three government agencies involved in the sentencing process: the Domestic Security Division that arrests practitioners and presses charges, the procuratorate that investigates the cases, and the courts that tries the practitioners. The earlier the practitioner is rescued, the fewer people get involved in the case and the simpler it is.
“We don't want all three agencies to work hand in glove on the case,” our lawyer said.
The lawyers also told us that the Domestic Security Division is key to persecuting practitioners because that is their priority and that agency’s staff is promoted according to how actively it engages in the persecution.
It is a different story for the prosecutors and judges. In addition to Falun Gong cases, they have many other cases to handle every day. Their promotion doesn't depend on Falun Gong cases. As more judges understand the facts, fewer want to get involved in the persecution.
One Practitioner Released Two Weeks After Her Arrest
Practitioner B often distributed truth-clarification materials in a neighborhood. Security personnel reported her to the police, and she was arrested in August 2016. Local practitioners found her husband, who hired an attorney. She had been released from prison only recently, and her husband didn't have any confidence that she could be rescued.
Practitioners clarified the facts to him and encouraged him to speak out and work with the lawyer to rescue his wife.
The lawyer soon arranged a meeting with practitioner B at the detention center. Several other practitioners went to send forth righteous thoughts.
After the lawyer finished the meeting with her, he went directly to the Domestic Security Division and demanded her release. The officers there said they would consider it. Several hours later, the officers called the lawyer and agreed to release the practitioner on bail. Although it seemed impossible, practitioner B returned home that evening, about two weeks after her arrest.
Taking the Initiative
While rescuing the practitioners, the lawyers have often taken the lead in dealing with the officials.
Practitioner A was arrested for distributing Falun Gong-related materials in July 2016. Her lawyers went to the procuratorate even before the case was transferred there and submitted their complaints against the police for arresting her.
“Your case isn't here yet,” a prosecutor said.
“We come here to stop you from approving the arrest,” her attorney said. “There is no legal basis for the persecution. The police have already violated the law in doing this. We can't let you break the law as well. We are now filing complaints against the police for arresting our client. If you approve her arrest, we will take legal action against you, too.”
The lawyers were very upright. Having never been challenged by a lawyer like this before, the prosecutor said he would look into the case.
The lawyers also asked Practitioner A's family to prepare more than 20 copies of their complaints against the police and mail them to local procuratorate, courts, and relevant legal departments.
These letters greatly restrained the local police. When they interrogated practitioner A again, they appeared to be quite afraid. The police told Practitioner A that they were receiving endless phone calls from overseas about her case and that the lawyers' complaints really had some impact.
Lawyers Defending Practitioners at Trial
Soon after we learned that Practitioner C was arrested and hired a lawyer for him, his case was transferred to the court, and the judge informed his family of the trial date.
We sent righteous thoughts for him. The coordinating practitioner also asked more family members to attend the trial and listen to the lawyer's defense.
Practitioner C was brought from the detention center to the court for trial. The lawyer asked the judge to remove the practitioner's handcuffs and shackles at the beginning of the trial. The bailiff refused, saying they had never done such a thing for a Falun Gong practitioner. The lawyer persisted in his demand, and the judge finally agreed.
The prosecutor was very arrogant and made slanderous statements about Falun Gong. Practitioners present kept sending righteous thoughts.
During the lawyer's defense arguments, he refuted all the charges against Practitioner C, arguing that there has never been any legal basis for the persecution. After several rounds, the prosecutor lost the argument and appeared less aggressive than he was at the beginning.
When the lawyer emphasized that it was the police and prosecutor who had violated the law in the persecution, the judge kept interrupting him and adjourned the trial for a few minutes.
During the adjournment, the lawyer questioned why the judge would not allow him to speak. The judge did not respond. After the trial resumed, the judge did not interrupt the lawyer anymore. The lawyer made very strong defense statements for Practitioner C.
When the lawyer cited the criminal complaints he had filed against the prosecutor and the judge, the prosecutor's face turned red, and her hands started to shake. When she spoke again, her voice was very low and incoherent. She kept her head down and did not look at the lawyer.
When the lawyer called the judge's name and said that he was also a criminal suspect, the judge immediately dropped his head.
After the lawyer's defense, the judge adjourned the trial without rendering a verdict.
Two months later, the judge called the lawyer and revealed his dilemma: he personally didn't want to sentence the practitioner, but higher authorities were pressuring him to do so.
The lawyer asked the practitioner's family to mail a copy of his defense to everyone on the trial committee—about 20 members of the court's administration and other judges—so that everyone involved in the case would understand that people have the freedom to practice Falun Gong and that it does not violate any law.
Meanwhile, the lawyer and Practitioner C's family actively demanded his release. A few weeks later, Practitioner C was released.
Practitioner D was arrested in May 2016 while posting informational posters about Falun Gong. She did not cooperate with the police or provide any information to them. She also wrote several letters, suing the police for violating the law in persecuting her. Other local practitioners sent righteous thoughts for her.
Her case was submitted to the procuratorate a month later. Her parents went there every day to demand her release. After the procuratorate returned the case to the Domestic Security Division, her parents went there also to demand her release. Although officers treated her parents rudely, they persisted.
Her case went between the Domestic Security Division and the procuratorate several times. Her parents followed the case closely and actively sought her release.
Meanwhile, local practitioners and D's lawyer often visited D at the detention center, updating her with the development of the case and encouraging her to have strong righteous thoughts. Some practitioners also sent letters to encourage her.
D was doing very well inside the detention center. She spent a lot of time studying the Fa and clarified the facts to other detainees and staff members there. She also looked within and found many attachments not aligned with the Fa.
With persistence, D's lawyer and her mother finally talked to a chief prosecutor and the head of the Domestic Security Division. The lawyer argued that there is no legal basis for the persecution, while practitioner D's mother shared many personal stories of D and how her cancer was cured after practicing Falun Gong.
Soon after that, the procuratorate dropped the case against practitioner D. She went back home with strong righteous thoughts.
Moral Support for Detained Practitioners
After practitioners are arrested and detained, in addition to actively rescuing them, it is equally important to encourage them to maintain righteous thoughts and provide moral support.
As soon as we learned that Practitioner A had been arrested, we found her husband and hired a lawyer for her. When the lawyer went to visit her, a practitioner accompanied him and brought Practitioner A clothing her husband had prepared for her. We also sent letters and poems by Master to encourage her.
The lawyer's colleague also traveled from another city to visit Practitioner A with her lawyer. When they arrived, Practitioner A was really surprised and touched. She was detained at a place far away from her hometown and didn't expect the rescue plan to happen so quickly. She said she was very thankful for the practitioners' cooperation, felt supported, and felt she had not been left behind.
She was encouraged after talking to the lawyer, and her righteous thoughts became very strong. She told the lawyers that when she was arrested previously, she didn't pass the test well and wrote statements renouncing Falun Gong. She was determined that she would pass the test well this time and not cooperate with the evil.
With Practitioner A's strong righteous thoughts, the local practitioners' support, and the lawyer's hard work, Practitioner A was released after a month.
Changes in Practitioners’ Family Members
While some practitioners' family members actively worked with us in the rescue efforts, some had concerns and weren't so supportive of the practitioners. The rescue process, especially the lawyers' defense arguments, also helped the practitioners' families to understand the facts about Falun Gong.
When the trial of Practitioner C ended, his father came out very excited: “I had no idea that my son was innocent. My son is innocent! A lawyer spoke up for my son!”
Practitioner C's sister opposed his practice of Falun Gong, but she appeared very excited and happy after listening to the lawyer's defense. Her attitude towards Falun Gong completely changed.
Practitioner C's teenage son and E's teenage daughter were also Dafa disciples. While rescuing their parents, they took on many responsibilities. They wrote letters to their parents to encourage them and sought their release at the police station and procuratorate. They studied the Fa and did the exercises with local practitioners. Their cultivation states significantly improved.
What We Learned in Cultivation
Looking back on our rescue efforts over the past six months, I have gained many new understandings from the Fa.
The first thing was how we changed from our starting point. In the past, we focused more on how to rescue other practitioners but ignored how to clarify the facts and save more sentient beings in the process. Now, by working with the lawyers and practitioners' family, we mailed many informational materials to government officials involved in the persecution to inform know that the persecution has been illegal from the beginning and that their participation will incur consequences.
In fact, not only the perpetrators themselves but also many practitioners' family members also gained a new understanding of the facts and became more supportive.
In the process, we also saw the power of practitioners working together, each with their own tasks. Some contacted the family members of arrested practitioners, some delivered materials, some provided transportation for the lawyers, some arranged others to send forth righteous thoughts and share experiences, and more.
Some practitioners visited the family members of the lawyers, who also changed from being against the lawyers' defending Falun Gong practitioners to supporting them. The lawyers' family members also played a positive role and helped the lawyers focus more on their job.
We recommend that practitioners hire lawyers if they have the means. Lawyers can deliver a professional defense during a trial, which is more acceptable to the trial attendees. Hiring a lawyer will also provide more support for the practitioners and strengthen their righteous thoughts.
We also suggest not to change lawyers at a whim if there are no major problems. As long as the lawyers understand the facts and dare to defend Falun Gong practitioners, we should work with them with compassion and trust.
On the other hand, we shouldn't rely on the lawyers. What they can do is to defend the practitioners from the legal perspective, but many other factors are at play in rescuing practitioners. One practitioner, whose case was considered very tough by the lawyers, was released through the efforts of his family and other practitioners.